Why Do We Need Carbohydrates?

Before you jump into a new eating plan because you read an article about “The 10 Best Foods For…”

 

Or, you want to lose weight.

 

Or, you have read the virtues of one particular food and you see articles, Facebook, and Instagram posts with all sorts of conflicting advice.

 

Low carb… low fat… high fat…

 

Let me help break some of this down for you.

 

In order for our bodies to function properly, we need Micronutrients and Macronutrients.

 

The Macros are: Carbohydrates, Proteins, and Fats.

 

The Micros are: Vitamins, Minerals, Enzymes, and Hormones (I am not just talking  sex here).

 

We need these nutrients to keep our bodies functioning properly.

 

That means every cell, tissue, and organ needs these nutrients.

 

In this blog, I am going to focus on Carbohydrates.

 

Carbs are broken down into sugars.

 

Now, I know I dis sugar a lot, but keep reading.

 

Why do we need Carbs?

 

Carbs are the best and quickest source of energy.

 

I am not just talking about the energy we need to get out of bed, to move, and to exercise.

 

I am talking about the energy our body needs – along with red blood cells and our nervous systems – in order for all your internal organs to work properly.

 

Take my word for it, because I can’t give you a lesson in body metabolism in one short blog post.

 

Also, did you know that the only energy source used by our brains is glucose?

 

And, we get glucose from carbs.

 

(But, don’t you go crazy on sugar now! Read the whole blog!!)

 

Carbs regulate protein and fat metabolism. Now, if you are on a low carb and high protein or fat diet, how is your body going to use the fat and protein properly?

 

Carbs regulate appetite, so we feel satiated and don’t over-eat.

 

Carbs are a source of fiber.

 

We need fiber so – you know – our bowels can move better.

 

Plant fiber attracts water, making the stool larger and softer.

 

Otherwise, the stool will be hard and small – pellet-like.

 

But, enough about poop.

 

Fiber also feeds all the good bacteria in the intestines.

 

You have been hearing and reading a lot about gut microbes and their connection to the brain, and health in general, (okay, this is a topic for a whole other blog).

 

It is Complex Carbs that we need, not Refined Carbs.

 

These are the whole grains, seeds, stalks, leaves, and fruit, to name a few.

 

I know you have heard this over and over again.

 

Every time we go for a treat – a cakel, a cookie, or a cracker, etc. – we are eating Refined Carbs.

 

So, it is fine to cut back or give up on breads and regular pastas, but make sure you do not give up on fruits and vegetables.

 

For example, did you know that potatoes are high in Potassium?

 

Potassium is a vasodilator, it widens blood vessels, and consuming them is a natural way to reduce blood pressure.

 

Potatoes are packed with other vitamins and minerals, as well.

 

Potatoes are also rich in fiber – remember what I said about fiber?

 

Now, obviously fries and chips are not the healthiest way to consume potatoes – so, lay off those!

 

If you want to read all about potatoes, click here.

 

Here are a couple of other facts about Carbs:

 

We start to digest Carbs in the mouth – chew, chew, chew.

 

We digest Carbs before proteins and fats – that is why some people with digestive issue may need to eat the carbs first in a meal, followed by the proteins and fats.

 

Carbs help the body absorb and retain calcium – you know, the mineral you need for your bones!

 

What should our ideal intake be?  Out of our entire diet, it should be between 60 to 70% – yes, that high.

 

Want to know more?

 

Contact me! I can help you sort through the quagmire of diet articles and beliefs based on your individual needs.


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